The real reason Billy Ray Cyrus hated Hannah Montana

Hannah Montana is one of Disney Channel’s most successful shows to date. The series first aired in 2006 and introduced the world to a light-eyed teenage girl, Miley Cyrus, living a double life as Miley Stewart by day and pop sensation Hannah Montana by night. Miley was joined by her onscreen bestie Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment), onscreen brother Jackson Stewart (Jason Earles), and real-life father Robby Stewart (commonly known as Billy Ray Cyrus). While fans loved the show for its catchy tunes and wholesome content, the cast felt a little different.

Miley, in particular, has been open about the damage “Hannah Montana” caused her at a young age. “Really, Hannah Montana wasn’t a character,” she told Rolling Stone, explaining that there weren’t any clear boundaries between her life and the show. “That wasn’t what the show was [was] around. It was about a normal girl with a friggin’ wig on… The concept of the show, that’s me. I really had to come to terms with it and not be allowed to act like a third person.” She also believes the show forced her to grow up too fast, which prompted her to act later in life. “I’m such a frail girl playing a 16-year-old with a wig and a lot of makeup,” she said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “It was like ‘Toddlers & Tiaras.'” Interestingly, Miley’s father, Billy Ray, shared her complicated feelings for the show that put Miley on the map and increased his own star power with the tween/teen crowd.

Billy Ray Cyrus accused the series of “destroying” his family

Billy Ray Cyrus steered the career of Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart on Hannah Montana. Just as Miley Cyrus alluded to the show blurring the lines between her personal and personal lives, so too have fans linked Billy Ray’s on-screen role to his real-life role. In a 2011 interview with GQ, the country music star made it clear that she has never benefited from Miley, despite what is widely believed to be the case. “You have a lot of people [who] have made percentages out of her. I’m proud to say to this day I’ve never made a contract dollar or cent with my daughter,” he said.

Billy Ray went on to discuss how he felt the show was negatively affecting his family and possibly contributing to his split from then-wife Tish Cyrus. Per ET, the duo later reconciled but broke up again as of 2022. “‘Hannah Montana’ destroyed my family,” Billy Ray claimed, per GQ. I’ll tell you right now – the D*** show destroyed my family… I’d take it back in a heartbeat. That my family is here and righteous [for] Everyone [to be] okay, alive and well and happy and normal would have been awesome. Hell yes. I would erase everything immediately if I could.”

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Still, time may have changed Billy Ray’s attitude on the matter. In February 2020, he spoke positively about the possibility of a Hannah Montana prequel. “I would do that in a heartbeat,” he told HollywoodLife. “Because that means I get my mullet back.”

Hannah Montana robbed Miley Cyrus of a normal childhood

At the time of Billy Ray Cyrus’ GQ interview, a then-underage Miley Cyrus sparked outrage after TMZ released footage of her salvia smoking. During her “Bangerz” era in 2013, the singer-actress shared the stage with Robin Thicke at the MTV Video Music Awards and stripped naked in her “Wrecking Ball” music video. But, to hear Billy Ray explain, all of the outrageous behavior on Miley’s part was simply because “Hannah Montana” never gave her a normal childhood. Billy Ray compared his daughter to troubled stars like Kurt Cobain and Anna Nicole Smith and told GQ he was “scared” for Miley. “That [entertainment] Business has driven a wedge between us,” he said. “She has a lot of people around who put her in great danger. I know she’s 18 but I still feel like as her daddy I’d like to try and help. Give her a little attention to at least get her out of harm’s way.”

In recent years, Miley has admitted that “Hannah Montana” has thrown her into an identity crisis that has led her to experiment to find out who she was when not appearing on Disney Channel. “The concept was that if I look like myself, if I don’t have a wig anymore, no one cares about me,” she said on an episode of the podcast “Rock This With Allison Hagendorf.” Obviously, Miley wasn’t exactly “living the best of both worlds” on the show.